The City of Meriden has given the Meriden Humane Society 120 days to vacate its spot in the city-owned facility on Murdock Avenue.
That means quickly find new homes for the roughly 100 animals currently there and concerns about the very future of the organization.
“I was very angry and disappointed that is what it had come to,” Kim Sauer a Humane Society Board of Directors member, said.
Mayor Kevin Scarpati praised the Humane Society’s past work in the city, which stretches back more than 100 years.
The city said lease negotiations had lasted several months.
The mayor said there were disagreements over issues including allowing animals to wander freely in the building and cleanliness.
“It’s unfortunate we’ve reached this point where we’ve asked them to fix or change a number of things in how they operate. With refusal to do from their side, we unfortunately had to part ways,” Scarpati said.
Humane Society members said there’s more to the story and also blame personal disputes between the organization and the city.
During all this, the group’s director, Marlena DiBianco, was arrested in September, accused of forging an animal certificate.
Members said the group’s several lease offers were rejected and they were unsure what to expect heading into Thursday’s meeting, which ended with the four-month exit deadline.
“The reasonings that we were given were unfounded and we weren’t really able to say our side of the piece,” Sauer said.
With the shelter ordered to close, the Humane Society is now turning away animals and its focus is on finding spots for about 85 cats and 20 dogs already there.
“It’s going to be very difficult. It’s going to take quite a miracle,” Jason Dunn, a volunteer, said.
The Humane Society will rush to get as many animals adopted as possible, then will find other homes including at sanctuaries for others.
As for the group’s future, that’s unclear, and it would need major donations for it to continue its mission elsewhere.
The city is negotiating with another animal group to take over the spot.